A group of sixty enthusiastic women gathered together to celebrate the 125th anniversary of New Zealand’s women’s suffrage petition on Saturday, July 28.

This year New Zealand is celebrating the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage – one of the great milestone in NZ history – when it became the first self-governing country in the world to grant all women the right to vote in parliamentary elections.

That achievement was the result of years of effort by suffrage campaigners. In 1891, 1892 and 1893, activists compiled a series of massive petitions calling on Parliament to grant the vote to women. The biggest of them all was submitted on July 28, 1893.

To celebrate this historic occasion, local women activist and the member of the Kiwi-Indian community, Hansa Naran, took the lead and organised a small celebration in the semi-rural settlement of Waiau Pa, (which is 15 km south of Pukekohe town).

“We had a great gathering of about sixty women who came together to tell their stories on women suffrage and celebrate this historic occasion in NZ history,” Ms Naran told The Indian Weekender.

The event was opened with a video message from Vanisa Dhiru, President, National Council of Women New Zealand, who congratulated and reminded everyone about the importance and the need to celebrate with great spirits.

“I am very excited that today your community and your women are coming together to celebrate what is a very special weekend.

“On July 28, 1893, Kate Sheppard took thousands of signatures on the petition to parliament.

“That day marked the immense change that happened in our society to bring equality to our democracy

“The NCW is very keen to make sure that we can strive to a gender equal NZ, so that other activities and initiatives are as equal as voting in our country,” Ms Dhiru said in her video message.

“There was abundant excitement among the participants, evident in contributions towards decoration, colours, afternoon tea and stories to share by everyone attending the event,” Ms Naran told The Indian Weekender.

“We are had decorations in purple, white and green and each woman got a handmade Camilla to wear on the occasion.

“The group of women also went out for a walk in the street to imitate the earliest protest marches led by brave Kiwi-women,” Ms Naran said.